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Twitter For Marketers

Dear Reader,

Most of you who know me know that I spend way too much time on twitter.com. During all that time, I’ve learned a lot about twitter and the twitter community. I’ve seen companies succeed using it to talk to their customers and seen companies fall flat on their face. I even recorded an episode of Sixty Second Tech on the subject and even wrote a blog post about it.

Recently I started wrapping everything I’ve learned up into a single document. By the time I finished, it was 20 pages long. I sent it off to several reviewers, marketers and others, took their feedback and refined it over time and am really happy with the results.

So if you’ve ever wondered what works and what doesn’t when marketing on twitter, “Twitter for Marketers” is for you.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
=C=

Using Twitter for a Competitive Advantage

Dear Reader,

Over at the Small Business Idea Forum, Staci asked about twitter and I replied. This, along with a couple of other things today are pointing me towards a blog post and possible a podcast this weekend.

Twitter has gone from WTH to ZOMG to “Hey, I can use this for my benefit!” I like any tool that hits that last stage.

Three things have come together today to prompt me to write this post.

First, my friend and editor Elizabeth Naramore tweeted today:

someone explain to me the reasoning behind a company “following me” on twitter; are they just hoping I follow them too?

She’s not the first person that has noticed this trend, just the latest. The trend of following everyone on twitter because a lot of people automatically follow you back is growing. The obvious benefit is if you follow 10,000 people on twitter and 10% follow you back because they don’t know any better, when you post, 1,000 people see your post. So as a side note to this blog let me jsut advise any twitter user out there, don’t auto-follow. When you get a twitter “follow” notice, check out who it is. If it’s not someone you know then it’s twitter spam. Don’t bother to follow them. (You don’t have to block them though, let them artificially inflate your follower number.)

Then I saw this post from Michal Arrington. (Whom I do not follow because I do not know and usually don’t care to hear what he has to say outside of techcrunch.com.) It was an A-Ha! moment for me. I do a lot of scanning with Google Alerts but his point is very important.

Twitter is the place where conversations are exploding well before they even make it to mainstream blogs.

It’s not enough these days to just monitor the web via Google alerts or some paid clipping service. Blogs are a trailing indicator these days. To be on top of your brand you have got to take it to the next level. tweetscan.com lets you do just that.

Finally, a forum post over at the Small Business Idea Forum again mentioned twitter and my reply there got me thinking.

Twitter started as a way to connect friends but is fast becoming a powerful marketing and business intelligence tool. I cover the former briefly in my forum post and on Sixty Second Tech but it’s the latter that I really want to talk about.

tweetscan.com

tweetscan.com is just what you think it is, a search engine for twitter. Yes, Google indexes twitter but these days that just not fast enough. Thankfully the guys and gals behind tweetscan solve that problem for us. It looks like they database and index the public feed. I don’t know where they get their resources but I hope to god they stay alive because this is something that twitter really needs.

If you have looked at their page by now and can’t figure out how to use it, please turn in your Internet secret decoder ring and shut off your modem. If you did figure it out, bully for you, you are as smart as a fifth grader! A couple of notes. If you read their blog and wiki (these people are on the web 2.0 ball!) then you know that they support OR and “-” operators. This makes life ever so much more interesting. GO ahead, play with a few queries like cats OR dogs. Hopefully they will add AND and NOT in there soon.

So, you can scan for topics. That’s kind of cool but other than replacing google egosurfing with twitter egosurfing what’s the pint, right? Here’s the point. Search for your brand! In my case I have searches for “Cal Evans”, Zend and ZF. All fine and good, as Arrington points out, I can now see things before they happen as twitter is a leading indicator. But who wants to go visit their page every so often and execute a series of searches?

FEED ME!

Thankfully, the people behind tweetscan are fully Web 2.0 compliant and they provide me with a custom feed for each search I execute. This means I can plug the RSS feed of the above search for “Cal Evans”, into ANY feed reader and voila, instant ego surfing!

Now, I use Google Reader as my primary feed reader and it does a wonderful job. However, these feeds (I’ve got 8 now) are much more important to me than anything I have in Google Reader. I almost need them to be push. The next best thing to push is pull in a program I already use. I did NOT want to have to install yet another piece of software to make this whole thing work. (Que Attensa to enter stage right) I used to use this Outlook plugin back when I was at Jupiter Hosting. It’s a great way to add RSS feeds into Outlook. It’s made some progress since 2005 and now is very unobtrusive.

Wrap It Up

So, to summarize; tweetsearch.com + Attensa’s outlook plugin = quick and easy business intelligence. Don’t forget to add feeds for your major competitors brands as well!

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
=C=
So,

My Latest Project

Dear Reader,

Those of you who follow me on twitter already know this but I’ve been reticent in blogging this. My latest project is to move all of my poetry to a new site, Cyrano’s Apprentice.

If you are into poetry, well, you probably want to steer clear of it. However, if you didn’t know that I wrote poetry, it’s good for a giggle.

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
=C=

The Importance of Twitter

Dear Reader,

Ok, yes, I’m a twitterhead, thanks to the magic of programs like flock and Spaz I tweet daily now. However, Twitter, like any good web 2.0 application, is finding new uses like ioubeer and other innovative ideas.  At DevZone we are starting to experiment with using twitter as a reply mechanism for our podcast PHP Abstract and I know others are starting to work in this area.  Basically to me, twitter is an API to instantly contact, by whatever means they want, anyone who wants to share their attention with me.

Using PHP Abstract as an example, right now, to get people’s attention that we have posted a new episode on DevZone, I post on dzone.com, digg.com, and facebook.com. Now however, for the past 3 episodes, I’ve also been posting on the PHP Abstract twitter account. So if you want to know that there is a new episode, all you have to do is follow phpabstract. While that is cool, one of the problems we seem to be having is that people don’t listen to PHP Abstract siggint at their computer, while on the DevZone page.  This means that people can’t easily reply to a podcast.  However, now, thanks to twitter, starting next week (doesn’t work yet, don’t bother) people will be able to tweet @phpabstract and the comment will go back to DevZone and be posted. So we now have a two-way API to talk with our listeners.

I think that going forward we will see more and more uses come forward for twitter. it reminds me of the recent Cisco commercial where the producers of a movie want to contact everybody about a sequel. (oh yea, my heart skips a beat because the producer of a movie has figured out how to rehash all the jokes in the first movie and re-package it as “fresh” content)  The producer enters the message into his phone and it calls one person, emails one and TXT messages one.  Well, we don’t need Cisco or an expensive phone system to do that now, we’ve got twitter. I can enter a message into twitter, everyone who is interested in what I have to say can follow me and respond. Instant API into my attention sphere.

Now what would be cool is twitter groups…

Until next time,
(l)(k)(bunny)
=C=